Lord, let me honor Your name in words and actions, at home and at work, and in every circumstance of life.
Read: EZEKIEL 36:16-38
 Again the word of the LORD came to me:  “Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by their conduct and their actions. Their conduct was like a woman’s monthly uncleanness in my sight.  So I poured out my wrath on them because they had shed blood in the land and because they had defiled it with their idols.  I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions.  And wherever they went among the nations they profaned my holy name, for it was said of them, ‘These are the LORD’s people, and yet they had to leave his land.’  I had concern for my holy name, which the people of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone. “Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.  I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.  “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.  I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.  Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.  I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you.  I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine.  Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign LORD. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, people of Israel!  “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt.  The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it.  They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.”  Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’  “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Once again I will yield to Israel’s plea and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep,  as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed festivals. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”
Reflect: WHAT IS GOD SEEKING?
God’s holiness lies at the heart of this passage. God’s people were supposed to bear witness to God’s holy nature before the nations. Instead, they had dishonored God’s name and his nature through their actions. Their exile was a direct consequence of their breaking the covenant with God (17,18; see also Deut. 28:36,37,41). We might think God’s prime concern is for people to be saved, but this passage suggests that God longs for his true nature (his holiness) to be understood and honored by all nations (21-23,32). The numerous sentences beginning “I. . .” in this passage reveal God’s holy nature to his Jewish people in exile, but God’s holy nature has not changed. His holiness is still revealed in right judgment (18), in his grace and generosity in rescuing, restoring and providing for his people (23,24,30,35-37), and in his power to cleanse us from sin (25) and transform us inwardly. He still pours out his own Spirit to guide us and enable us to worship and serve him as we should (26,27).
Take one of these aspects of God’s holy nature and make it the focus of your thoughts today.
Lord, let me reflect Your holy nature in a world that has gone its own way.
Syndicated via Scripture Union